Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: May 2022

A mixed bag of a month, most of five star reads came from rereads. But now I am ready for all of the summer reads!

Favorite Reads This Month: Some Mistakes Were Made, The Phoenix Priest, TBK/TTQ, QOS, Love & Olives, All the Feels, Love in Bloom, Roaring, The Bluff

  • [Graphic Novel] Heartstopper Vol. 4 by Alice Oseman
  • Obsidian Throne (The Lochlann Feuds #4) by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison
  • [ARC] Exactly Where You Need to Be by Amelia Diane Coombs
  • Just Go With It (Just Us #1) by Madison Wright
  • Bonded Fate (Guardians of the Maiden #2) by Beck Michaels
  • The Do-Over by Bethany Turner
  • Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer
  • Book of Night by Holly Black
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  • The Phoenix Priest (The Blood and Water Saga #2) by Cassidy Clarke
  • [Reread] The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen
  • [ARC] Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
  • [Reread] Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas
  • [ARC] Edward and Amelia by Karen Thornell
  • Love & Olives (Love & Gelato #3) by Jenna Evans Welch
  • Last Chance Summer by Shannon Klare
  • The Queen’s Rising (The Queen’s Rising #1) by Rebecca Ross
  • The Witch Collector (Witch Walker #1) by Charissa Weaks
  • [Bonus Chapters] The Calm Before the Storm (The Bridge Kingdom #3.5) by Danielle L. Jensen
  • All the Feels (Spoiler Alert #2) by Olivia Dade
  • [Novella] The Missed Connection (Airport Novellas #2) by Denise Williams
  • [Graphic] Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron by Julia Quinn
  • [Reread] The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2) by Danielle L. Jensen
  • [ARC] For Butter or Worse by Erin La Rosa
  • Complex (The Sweet Rom”Com”s #2) by Kortney Keisel
  • An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan
  • Love in Bloom (Some Kind of Love #4) by Jenny Proctor
  • Firebrand (Green Rider #6) by Kristen Britain
  • Maybe Now (Maybe #2) by Colleen Hoover
  • Reign & Ruin (Mages of the Wheel #1) by J.D. Evans
  • [Novella] Unrequited (The Donovans #0.5) by Martha Keyes
  • How to Kiss Your Best Friend by Jenny Proctor
  • Roaring by Lindsey Duga
  • [Novella] A Wilderness of Glass (Wraith Kings #2.7) by Grace Draven
  • The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst
  • Gleam (The Plated Prisoner #3) by Raven Kennedy
  • A Show for Two by Tashie Bhuiyan
  • [ARC] The Bluff (Graham Brothers #2) by Emma St. Clair
  • [Novella] Love Beginning (Some Kind of Love #0.5) by Jenny Proctor

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Book Review

Book Review: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Crystal Maldonado
Publisher: Holiday House
Release Date: February 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.

REALLY ENJOYABLE.

I flew through this book quickly. The writing led to a easy and great paced story for a coming of age teen, Charlie.

The conversations throughout hit me deep in many ways. Some I could understand and connect with and others I won’t ever be able to understand, but appreciated seeing it in a book to help me understand more. There was a lot of great dialogue here and I’m grateful that I had the chance to read this.

Within the bigger and tougher discussions was an adorable romance. I thought Brian was precious and I loved all of the dates and interactions and the chemistry between him and Charlie. Some of the dialogue is very high school, though I wasn’t too affected by it. I thought everything felt pretty authentic to a 16/17 year-old without being over the top.

What I didn’t love was how the conflict went down with Brian. It just seemed liked it could have been addressed better and not dragged out as long as it was for the sake of the drama. A conversation after cooling down would have nicely moved things along rather than trying to force a grand gesture at the end.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; discussion of sex
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: fatmisia, body shaming, diet culture, disordered eating

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: With and Without You by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ★★☆ (2.5)
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: April 19th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

#Wibbroka is back with another swoony YA–this time tackling long-distance relationships, in a novel based on their own romantic history.

If high school seniors Siena and Patrick were a superlative, they’d be the Couple Most Likely to Marry. They’ve been dating for three solid years, and everyone agrees they’re perfect for each other. But with college on the horizon, Siena begins to wonder whether staying together is the best idea. Does she really want to be tied down during possibly the most transformative years of her life? So she makes a decision to break up with Patrick, convincing herself it’s for the best. Before she can say the words, though, he beats her to the punch: his family is moving out of state. Caught off guard by the news, Siena agrees to stay with Patrick, believing their relationship will naturally fizzle out with time and distance. But over a series of visits throughout the school year, Siena begins to see a different side of Patrick–one that has her falling in love with him all over again. 

Thank you the the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

LETDOWN.

I am a huge fan of Wibberley and Sigemund-Broka. Read and enjoyed all of their previous books. This is the first time I have felt truly MEH about how this entire book went.

This relationship in crisis trope did not play out well. Siena complained entirely too much and kept pitying Patrick at every turn when she should have just BROKEN UP WITH HIM. Stop making ridiculous excuses. It also really bugged me that rather than communicate (since they’ve been in a relationship for 3+ years), she instead decides she wants to sleep with him for the first time even when she acknowledges she’s not in a good place for it. I could give you a list of more instances of Sienna making me want to toss my kindle.

Some of the second half was better. I’ll give it up to that. A few times there was some good communication. And I liked Patrick a lot! There wasn’t enough build up around his character so often he felt very bland, but he seemed sweet and I liked that we got some passion out of him by the end.

There’s more ridiculous miscommunication issues in the last quarter and I can’t say I was even all that happy with the ending. I felt there were enough red flags on both sides that I fell off the wagon of being behind this relationship.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: complete closed-door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gaslighting, gray-area cheating

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Book Review

Book Review: In the Penalty Box by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary romance
Length: 364 pages
Author: Lynn Rush & Kelly Anne Blount
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: January 5th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Cutting Edge meets Friday Night Lights in a sizzling new hockey romance from bestselling authors Kelly Anne Blount and Lynn Rush.

Willow
Figure skating was supposed to be my whole world. But one unlucky injury and now I’m down…but I’m definitely not out. I just need to rehab—a boatload of rehab—and who’d have thought I could do it on the boys’ hockey team?

Of course, the infuriatingly hot captain of the team seems to think I’m nothing but sequins and twirls. What’s a girl to do but put him in his place? Game on.

Brodie
Hockey is my whole world. I’ve worked my tail off getting my team in a position to win the championships—hopefully in front of major college scouts, too—so what’s a guy to do when a figure skater ends up as our new goalie?

Of course, the distractingly sexy skater thinks I’m nothing but a testosterone-laced competitive streak. And surely she’s only biding her time to heal, then she’s gone. Game over.

ALERT: RAGING TEEN HORMONES

That’s about the only major thought that kept going through my head. This was a book that couldn’t decide what age group it actually wanted to be apart of. The dialogue, conversations, and inner monologues swayed from young YA and towards NA (new adult). It was weird. Really weird.

What I did like was the hockey story. I love a good sports novel and I LOVE that Willow got be the goalie for the boy’s team. That was awesome and really neat to see. I liked reading about the games and wondering who was going to win.

I also did enjoy Willow’s character progression. Ridiculous thoughts about Brodie aside, she made some great strides in figuring out what was best for her. I think she made the best decisions with the information she could and picked what she truly felt was going to make her happy in the long run.

The wild drama all over the place took me out of the story. I don’t mind a bit of drama, but sometimes it hits a line. This one rolled way past that point. Everything felt amped to try and create an emotional side, and I didn’t feel much of that. I wish I could have felt drawn to some of the inner story more, but it’s fine. This was a quick YA romance that had some good, some bad.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sports romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: physical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: difficult sports injuries, sexism, misogyny, loss of a parent through car wreck, parent abandonment, parent incarceration, alcoholism

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